July 16, 2012
Well, this seems like an easy question: problems are definitely our enemies, right? As usual, we are not going to conform to the world’s viewpoint as we answer. Making friends with your problems sounds so trite, even silly. But it’s actually the truth and really works! Though many events in your life may feel random and messed up because of all your problems, stop for a moment and remember this: your God is sovereign over everything … and He can “fit everything into a pattern of good”.
God would rather teach us without suffering, heartache, and challenge. Unfortunately, we are stubborn and self-centered. So, God has to use methods that catch our attention, to show us what is really destructive or to protect us from heading straight into destruction. It is called Discipling us! Discipline is intentional training that produces moral character or conduct. Spiritually, this goal is the Mind of Christ. Events become problems only when we don’t understand the processes of discipleship and discipline.
Our problems are opportunities to show what we have learned. After I practiced in baseball a lot, I wanted to play against the competition to show how much I had learned and how good my skills were. It was the same in medical school. As I assessed and worked up a patient and studied the illness, I was excited to present to the attending physician and let him grill me so I could show my growth as a psychiatrist. A “problem” in life is really the competition or test we take to show our growth … as well as the areas that still need work. Why? Because we need to grow, else more suffering is guaranteed.
The best way to befriend your problems is to thank God for His care for you as He gives you an opportunity to show the work you have put in and your resulting growth in Him. Thank Him for His willingness to show you areas where He wants to grow and equip you. These simple acts will open your mind to receiving God’s benefits. Developing the Mind of Christ and an intimate relationship with God will flow from your “problems.”
Today, look at your problems. If you are thankful and handling them, then you are preparing well … putting on the armor, getting your confidence from God, and letting the Lord lead you into battle. If you are struggling, and lack thankfulness and understanding of your problems, then look at how you are preparing for your “tests”. Where you are getting your confidence? What is at the center of your heart influencing the lenses you use to view your problems? It’s time for a heart exam. Your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I am overwhelmed with life’s problems … they are mounting so much that I cannot see over them. At times I am almost paralyzed with fear. It’s hard, but I want to thank You for these problems. I do not expect You to remove them, Lord. But I do pray that You strengthen me through them and that You make good come from these problems. Let each problem teach me something, Lord. Transform me little by little into the masterpiece You have created me to be … draw me closer to You. I pray in the name of the One who grew stronger through adversity, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24